Bradley Wiggins’ withdrawal from the race due to illness means Colombian Rigoberto Uran will assume Sky’s Giro d’Italia leadership. The 26-year-old, winner of last year’s young jersey classification, currently sits third overall at 2-04 minutes.
“Yeah, for sure, Rigoberto’s the leader now,” Sky principal, David Brailsford told journalists including Cycling Weekly.
“The team will get right behind Rigoberto and keep on racing all the way to Brescia [when the race ends – ed.]. He looks in good shape, to be honest. It’ll be great to try to compete for the podium or even better.”
Uran won the race’s first summit finish to Altopiano del Montasio on Tuesday. His win prompted speculation that he may contend for the overall. Wiggins’ 3-17-minute loss, brought on by a chest infection, paved the way for Sky’s long-haired, smiling Colombian.
After Wiggins’ turn for the worse in Treviso, he sat 13th at 5-22 minutes behind leader Vincenzo Nibali (Astana). On Friday morning, the team announced that Wiggins would not start stage 13 due to a chest infection.
Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) is only back 41 seconds in second place. Uran and a handful of other contenders are within two minutes’ striking distance of the leader’s pink jersey.
Brailsford, despite Wiggins’ troubles, is grateful for a GC-strong team. In addition to Chris Froome and Richie Porte, who are focusing on the Tour de France, he has Uran ready to step up.
“We have a great position in the race and we are still in a good position in the GC,” Brailsford added. “When Brad broke his collarbone in the 2011 Tour, we lost our purpose a little a bit, we had to go from GC to trying for stages. Here, however, we still feel that we are competitive in the race.”
Brailsford said the team would decide tomorrow morning if Wiggins would continue. If he does, his goal could be winning the mountain time trial in Polsa next week and helping ‘Rigo’ win.
Wiggins said after the Montasio stage on Tuesday that Uran can be inconsistent.
“You know, there’s a time trial,” Wiggins explained. “He’s quite inconsistent like that, he can have a really good day, win a stage like today and then lose a few seconds tomorrow. We’ll have to see how he feels.”
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Photos by Graham Watson